In climate news this week, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is readying a new report on the future effects of climate change. A 127-page draft obtained by The Associated Press details a stark view of what’s causing global warming and what it will do to humans and the environment. Global warming is here, human-caused and probably already dangerous — and it’s increasingly likely that the heating trend could be irreversible, according to the draft. It also describes what can be done about it.
To quote the draft, “Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.” The final report will be issued after governments and scientists go over the draft line by line in an October conference in Copenhagen.
Depending on circumstances and values, “currently observed impacts might already be considered dangerous,” the report says. It mentions extreme weather and rising sea levels, such as heat waves, flooding and droughts. It even raises, as an earlier report did, the idea that climate change will worsen violent conflicts and refugee problems and could hinder efforts to grow more food. And ocean acidification, which comes from the added carbon absorbed by oceans, will harm marine life, it says.
Without changes in greenhouse gas emissions, “climate change risks are likely to be high or very high by the end of the 21st century,” the report says.